eARC Review: What the Other Three Don’t Know by Spencer Hyde

Goodreads: What the Other Three Don’t Know
Publish date: 03 March 2020
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Panda Rating:

Will I still be loved if I show people who I really am?
Four high school seniors. Four secrets about to be told.

If Indie had it her way, she would never choose to river raft with three other high school seniors, mostly strangers to each other, from her journalism class.

A loner, a jock, an outsider, an Instagram influencer. At first they can’t see anything that they have in common. As the trip unfolds, the unpredictable river forces them to rely on each other. Social masks start to fall as, one-by-one, each teen reveals a deep secret the other three don’t know.

One is harboring immense grief and unwilling to forgive after the death of a loved one. One is dealing with a new disability and an uncertain future. One is fearful of the repercussions of coming out. One is hiding behind a carefully curated “perfect” image on Instagram.

Before they get to the end of Hells Canyon, they’ll know the truth about each other and, more importantly, learn something new about themselves.

I requested this book because of the strong Breakfast Club vibes that I got from the synopsis but I was a little underwhelmed by the story. I really appreciated the author’s note at the start but I found it difficult to connect with the characters and I wasn’t all too sure about how I felt about the writing style.

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Down the TBR Hole – 15

My guilt has kicked in and told me that I can’t keep avoiding another culling of my ridiculous TBR forever, so here I am. Back again with a list of books from my Goodreads TBR that is now a whopping 1,088 books (don’t judge me, I added a lot more books to my TBR since last week)! I thought I’d make it clear again that just because it’s on my Goodreads TBR doesn’t actually mean I own copies of the book (that’d be way ridiculous even for me)! Let’s see what we can get rid of today, eh?

Down the TBR Hole is a weekly book meme created by the wonderful Lia @ Lost in a Story that attempts to organize our ridiculously long Goodreads TBR list by choosing either to keep or eliminate the books we’ve saved on there. Here’s how it works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go

Verdict: Keep

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Year of the Asian 2020 Reading Challenge Announcement & Possibility Pile

I was waffling on whether I wanted to join this challenge but then I finally caved because #FOMO and I really just want to read more of the Asian authors that exist on my shelves. Seeing as one of my main bookish goals this year is to also read diversely I thought it’d be perfect to join The Year of the Asian 2020 Reading Challenge to hold myself accountable! #YARC is hosted by CW @ The Quiet Pond, Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads, Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea and Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams and the idea of it is pretty simple: read as many books written by Asian authors as you can! These books can be backlist titles (i.e. released in 2019 or earlier), new releases, and ARCs, and they can be books of any genre, format, and length. You can find out more information and sign up here.

Level 2: Indian Cobra (11-20 books)

There are quite a few levels that you can aim for (including a panda!) and I’ve decided to aim for the Indian Cobra (11-20 books). I have a surprising amount of books written by Asian authors just sitting on my shelves and I don’t really have a reason for why I haven’t read them yet, so I’m more than happy to have a great reason to prioritise them now. Here’s what I got:

Young Adult

Adult

I know I have other books by Asian authors sitting on my book shelf but I can’t recall them off the top of my head right now. But I think this is a pretty solid list of 20 to start with. I hope that I’ll be able to get my ass in gear and read all of these–I know some have been languishing on my shelves for way. too. long. #forshame. On that note, I’ll post my progress on my monthly Reading Challenge Updates post that I’ve literally just this second decided to schedule. Hopefully I’ll already have something to update by the end of this month!

Are you participating in the Year of the Asian 2020 Reading Challenge too?
Do we have any of the same books to read? What’s on your list?

#TopTenTuesday: Most Anticipated Releases 2020 (First Half)

It’s that time of the week again, friends! We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: most anticipated releases for the first half of 2020. It’s amazing how one year of immersing myself in the book community has made me so aware of upcoming releases. I still don’t keep track as much as others do, but before 2019 I had zero clues. Honestly, I still don’t even know what or how I’d find books to read before then 😂 On that note, there are quite a few releases that I’m keen to get my hands on this year (unfortunately for me, I’m locking down on my spending this year so I’ll only be adding a select few to my shelves in 2020)! I’ve already mentioned five books in this post, but here are ten more that I’m super keen for:

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Goodreads Monday – The Shamer’s Daughter by Lene Kaaberbøl

It’s the first Goodreads Monday of 2020, friends! This weekly meme was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners and it invites you to pick a book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it. Easy enough, right? Feel free to join in if you want to! I’ll be using a random number generator to pick my books from my insanely long GR Want-to-read list.

This week’s book is The Shamer’s Daughter (The Shamer Chronicles #1) by Lene Kaaberbøl. It’s a Scandinavian Middle Grade/Young Adult Fantasy that I added to my Goodreads TBR in September 2019. On Goodreads it has 3.91 stars with 7.9k+ ratings and 416 reviews.

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The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Bone Houses
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror
Panda Rating:

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

I was expecting to be terrified reading this ‘historical fantasy horror’, especially considering the title and it’s basically about zombies, but it had just the right amount of spook that even a chicken like me could read it alone at night! What a treat of a read this was 😍 Even before picking it up, I knew I’d enjoy it but I didn’t expect to not want to leave it for even a second!

“The anticipation of the loss hurts nearly as much as the loss itself. You find yourself trying to hold on to every detail, because you’ll never have them again.”

The writing was simple, atmospheric and the story read a little bit like a fairytale. I liked how things were so simply but vividly described but mostly I loved the magic in the story. It’s woven through so naturally it was almost difficult to picture the world differently. Although this is a fantasy, I was wondering what country inspired the story, and it’s Welsh folklore/mythology! I haven’t read anything Welsh inspired before (at least not to my knowledge) so that was pretty cool. The plot was fast paced and well paced. There were some ‘quieter’ moments towards the end of the book, but it didn’t slow the story down. There wasn’t much surprising in the plot though–it was quite linear which made it easy to predict what would happen in the end, but that’s OK. There were still some unique elements to the story that made it enjoyable!

What really made the story for me were the characters. Ryn is incredibly fierce, loyal and stubborn. She has a temper that gets the best of her at times, and while she does make some stupid decisions without thinking of the consequences, you can’t help but love her anyway. She’s hanging on to the past in the hopes that one day her father will return and it broke my heart a little bit. She’s the character that makes you feel safe and like everything’s going to be okay because they’re around. We don’t learn or spend a lot of time with her siblings but I loved Ceri! She’s a bright light in a dark story and her bubbly personality and love for baking and animals had me smiling from ear-to-ear.

“She was half a wild creature that loved a graveyard, the first taste of misty night air, and the heft of a shovel. She knew how things died. And in her darkest moments, she feared she did not know how to live.”

Then we have Ellis, the mapmaker who comes into town. Little is known about him at first, but it was pretty easy to figure out his story as we learn more about the curse. I loved Ellis’ character a lot! He had a certain innocence about him that stemmed from his questions about his past but he also had some great dry/sarcastic humor! I even liked the romance that bloomed! It’s progression felt natural and I liked the easy banter that flowed between them. Although they’re opposites in so many respects, they share a keen understanding in their loneliness, losses and grief, and as such complemented each other quite well. Opposites definitely attracted here!

Also, did I mention the amazing goat yet?! Because it definitely might have stolen the show! I loved it as much as everyone told me I would and I know that sounds weird AF but trust me, when you read this, you’ll love the goat too! I pre-ordered the book just so I could get that extra story about the goat! Overall, I’m so glad that I finally read this book. I enjoyed so much about it and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a fantastical zombie fairytale-esque story that’s just a little on the spooky side!

Have you read The Wicked King or is it on your TBR?

Sadie by Courtney Summers – #BookReview

Goodreads: Sadie
Genre: Young Adult Thriller, Mystery, Audiobook
Panda Rating:

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

I’m really surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this story. I had seen very mixed reviews and the more people said they were disappointed by it, the more I hesitated to read it, but I started it on a whim and I certainly don’t regret the decision! Sadie is a young adult mystery/crime thriller told through an interesting format: a mix of podcast and first person POV. It delves into pretty dark topics including child abuse (off page) and drug/alcohol abuse and addiction. It’s not a happy story by any means and there isn’t much of a happy ending (though tbh, I’m still a little salty about that ending!), but I think it’s worth the read.

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The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Wicked King
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Panda Rating:

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

3.5 stars for that pre-epilogue ending! And just when I thought that things were turning around and I’d like this newly established alliance, that ending had to go and happen! I’m shook but also angry? But also, I get it too? This seems to have really messed with my feelings (of which I thought I didn’t have many of for this series) 🤣

The Cruel Prince: ★★★½ – ★★★★☆
The Wicked King: ★★★½
The Queen of Nothing: ???

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Top 5 Saturday: Books Made into TV Shows/Movies!

It’s time for another Top 5 Saturday, a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and this week’s topic is: books that have been made into TV shows/movies! Technically the topic only covers ‘movies’ but there are more TV adaptations that I can think of and that I’m really keen to check out. I’ve read the book of half of these shows/movies but others I’m still working on… but I’m determined to finish the books before I start watching it. Here’s what I got:

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Top 5 Saturday: ARR, Pirate Books, Matey!

It’s time for another Top 5 Saturday, a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and this week’s topic is: books about pirates! And so I obviously had to make this lame post title but I’m sorry I’m not sorry 😂 I don’t read books with pirates very often and I don’t tend to seek them out either? Nothing against pirates, they’re cool and everything but 🤷🏻‍♀️ I could only identify one book off the top of my head that had pirates in it, so off I went to the great land of Goodreads Lists and found some more pirate books that sound interesting…

Continue reading “Top 5 Saturday: ARR, Pirate Books, Matey!”